CMG Freelance Branch investigates call for submissions

Regular freelance contributors to CBC Radio’s DNTO program received an email a couple of weeks ago from DNTO on behalf of a new summer radio program called, ‘How To Do It’. It was a call for submissions which included these paragraphs:

“We’re looking for 3-5 minute anecdotes that you’re willing to share on the radio.

The bad news? We can’t pay you.

The good news? National broadcast, plus we’ll only require about 20 minutes of your time over
skype or a landline, and the segment will require minimal preparation
on your part.”

You can easily translate those paragraphs to, ‘please work for free.’  This contravenes the collective agreement between the CBC and contributors represented by the Canadian Media Guild. CBC should never solicit work on a speculative basis. You can be invited to pitch ideas, but if your ideas are accepted you must be paid for your work.

We brought this issue forward at our Freelance Joint Committee meeting last week, and management assured us that the program in question never meant to ask freelancers to work for free. They issued a retraction informing freelancers the email was sent in error and should not have been sent to people who actually get paid for their work under the collective agreement.

We are pleased that the email was recalled, but please remember that freelance contributors should never work ‘on spec’ or submit material for which you have no expectation of being paid. Unfortunately both commissioning producers and freelancers are sometimes unaware of how our relationship works.

If you’re not sure how it works, please visit our Branch homepage, or check out this pamphlet, “Take the Free Out of Freelancing“.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me at or call the Guild’s national office at Guild’s national office at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

Don Genova
CMG Freelance Branch President

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 9:10 am by editor · · Tagged with: , ,

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